A new tearoom opened adjacent to St Mary’s Church in Thakeham on Bank Holiday Monday to the delight of local residents.
Owner Sandra Andrew, from West Chiltington, and business partner Barbara Britton, from Dragons Green, officially opened the doors of Thakeham Tearooms to more than 30 people, including local villagers.
Serving a variety of home-made cakes, the aim of the business is to offer people a traditional tearoom experience.
“I always wanted to set up a tearoom, so did my mum,” said Sandra.
Sandra said that she wasn’t influenced by the current fashion of tearooms and bake-offs. Instead, she insists she had the idea ‘for a long, long time’.
“I’ve done a lot of research on them all and I’ve tried to make it a little bit different. I’ve tried to make the cakes all homemade and more back to traditional cakes.”
Business partner Barbara added: “We’re doing things like banana cake, lemon drizzle cake, madeleines... We’re going to be making gluten-free cakes as well. We’re trying to steer away from the cupcake kind of thing.”
The menu will also offer scones and cheesecakes, as well as soups, paninis and quiches during the winter months. All products will be sourced locally.
The tearoom will also take into account comments from customers.
“We’d like to know what cakes [our customers] haven’t had in years and what cakes we can make for them,” said Sandra.
In addition to holding a cordon bleu certificate, Barbara agrees with Sandra that cooking was something they both inherited from their families.
The two self-taught cooks said that there had been a big change in country life where locals may no longer be able to afford a whole afternoon in the pub.
The tearoom is located in the hall adjacent to the church. The hall and car park were gifts from Mr Meeten, who donated the property to the church.
“It really was a great opportunity,” says Sandra, who rents the building from the church.
Plans for the business also include a little shop to supply locals with milk and baker’s bread.
The tearoom benefits from having a large car park, and also has a play area for children.
There are also lots of cyclists and people who come to visit the church, said Sandra.
Dogs are welcome. Open seven days a week from 8.30am - 4pm.